June 24th: Review of The Raven Boys
I feel everything has been said about this book, but I’ll chip in anyway.
Unlike everyone in her family, Blue can’t impress people with visions or other mental abilities. According to her own words, she is a battery, making others’ energy stronger when she is around. She uses it to help the family psychic business. The other things making her special is the prophecy warning her she will kill her true love. How depressing.
The Raven Boys are four very different but complementary older teenagers attending a prestigious pre-ivy league private school . The bad boy, the leader, the quiet, and the poor. Don’t worry, this is the simplistic version. Each of these boys carry secrets and burdens.
Are you still with me?
Now comes a quest, the strong desire of one of the boys to find something very special. Guess who is great at finding things?
In the meantime, our frustrated Blue finally sees something. A boy. On a very special day. A vision that seals her fate to those of the boys.
I was a little skeptical about the romance. And the paranormal. And the blurb. And the hype, of course.
But I think I’m in love. Let me tell you why.
The characterization makes it impossible not to fall for a character, or in my case all of them. The variety of personalities creates a likeable group you are bound to root for.
Blue’s family is colorful and loveable. Yes, they are psychics. But that is not all there is to them. The author manages to play with the cliché and build a string of interesting women. They are not cardboard characters, there is a background, there is life. A mother raising her child alone, in a house full of creative minds.
The boys. A novel could be written about them. Wait, it’s been done. I don’t feel like saying too much about them because I believe no words could describe them better than the ones used by the author. All you have to know is that a leader can me a thousand more things. So can me the bad boy. It applies to all of them. Maggie Stiefvater gave life to characters with distinct personalities that you can’t fail to love.
Blue. Yes, it took me a while to get used to her name. Then I remembered someone had called their kid Apple, which is cute, but unusual. Blue became one of my favorite female characters. It bothers her to be seen as sensitive, but she can’t deny she is. She is friendly, curious, clever. It was refreshing not to get stuck with the strong main character with a hidden show-off super power whining about how her life is so boring until the day something happens and bam, she is transformed into a superhero. Blue is different, in a different way (this is so deep!). Her actions, the relationships she has or builds make her who she is, not her power. I cannot wait to see what happens to her in the next books. Her relationship with her mother and her family felt genuine and spot-on, differing in many ways from the usual teenagers-parents bonds we can find in books.
The romance. No insta-love. No long paragraphs about longing for each other. No heavy forbidden-love atmosphere. It is only an element among many others in the plot. I really loved the way every relation was built, how deep the bonds between the boys were, and how love took its place without causing waves or demanding tear-jerking chapters.
Back to the plot now. Psychics, Magic. A dead king. A quest. Trees. Nothing that appeals to me. Except this time. Everything is framed so perfectly that it creates a suspenseful and absorbing story that leaves you turning pages faster than the wind gets rid of a tree’s leaves. Don’t dread falling into something too supernatural for you, the right balance keeps you knee-deep in reality while sending you down the magic road.
The writing. I don’t even know what to say. I wish I used words the way Maggie Stiefvater does. She makes the trees alive, turns conversations between teenagers into something entertaining, powerful, or the saddest thing you’ve ever read. She gives nouns and verbs a deeper meaning. Feelings become tangible. Her writing style made me hungry for more.
If case you hadn’t noticed by now, I fell in love with everything in this book. The story swept me away and the characters filled every chapter with life. I finished this book last night, and I miss everything about it. Isn’t it what you call a book hangover? Don’t send my a doctor or aspirin, I’m happy here.
The Raven Boys deserves all the hype and even more.